September 2020

Bourbon Mocha "Sans Rival"

Literally, in French, "Sans Rival" means unrivaled. Contrary to the origin of the word, this nutty cake was invented in the Philippines, inspired by the French dessert: dacquoise. Sans Rival is a gluten free dessert made with alternating layers of meringue & French buttercream frosting with whipped in bits of cashew nuts.

In this recipe, I made it extra special by adding my two favorites: espresso & bourbon.


Back in the 1920's, numerous Filipinos travelled to study the art of patisserie in France, bringing back home with them the techniques that brought about the invention of this delicious "unrivaled" cake.

Mocha Meringue 


8 Egg Whites

3/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 tbsp. Instant Dark Coffee

1 & 1/2 cup Toasted Cashews (Finely Chopped)


  1. Line 3 baking pan sheets with parchment paper, set aside

  2. Whip the egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar

  3. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form

  4. Sprinkle in the coffee granules & toasted cashews, carefully fold in

  5. Pipe in (or spread with a spatula) the meringue batter into the 3 sheets evenly

  6. Bake in 350°F preheated oven for about 40 minutes or more until the meringue is brown and dry.

  7. Remove from oven while still hot and gently remove the parchment paper straight to the cooling rack


French Buttercream 


8 Egg Yolks

3/4 cup Espresso (I used Commonwealth Joe Shenandoah Brew)

1 & 1/2 cup Sugar

4 sticks Butter (Room Temperature)

2 tbsp. Bourbon (I used Elijah Craig Barrel Proof)

1 & 1/2 cup Cashews (chopped - for topping)


  1. In a mixer, beat the egg yolks until they double in volume. 

  2. In a pan, add the espresso & sugar and heat at 234°F until syrupy or "thread stage"

  3. With the mixer beating the egg yolks on high, slowly drizzle in the coffee syrup in thin stream to incorporate. (Adding in the syrup hastily will clump & cook the yolks)

  4. Beat in the butter until homogenously mixed, drizzle in the bourbon

  5. Set aside in the refrigerator to achieve the ideal frosting consistency



  1. Position a single meringue cookie on a cake board and spread an even layer of French buttercream frosting

  2. Pile another meringue cookie on top and continue the same process (much like layering a lasagna) until all layers are frosted

  3. Finish by sprinkling a generous amount of cashews on the sides & top of the cake

  4. Freeze overnight to set, enjoy!


The Pairing:

So what better to pair it with than Elijah Craig Barrel Proof itself or a fresh cup of Commonwealth Joe's Shenandoah brew? Both are simply fantastic!

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